After the Detroit debacle of a couple of weeks ago in which all three Big 3 CEOs managed to distinguish themselves by being indistinguishable, there’s been a strong public relations effort by Ford to reestablish its own identity and convince the public that it has been restructuring all along.

It’s always a good move for a company to set itself apart from its competition, and perhaps no more so than when you’re sitting at the same table with a privately held company run bya guy (Chrysler’s Bob Nardelli) who could lose a publicity contest to Attila the Hun and a publicly held company (GM) whose only plan up until now seemed to be to keep doing what hasn’t been working.

I’m no expert on Ford or its CEO, but I’ve always thought of the company as the U.S. automaker with the best chance of retooling. Now Ford has launched a new Web site, The Ford Story, that talks about its plan, its progress, and “how very far Ford has come and how we’re doing business differently.” In so doing, the company is redirecting the conversation about its brand away from bailouts and back toward Henry Ford’s vision to create cars that are affordable to ordinary Americans.

The company’s also using social media very effectively to spread the word. Ford’s head of social media, Scott Monty, has been using his personal blog and his Twitter stream to reinforce the Ford story. He’s written an excellent post on why he went to work for Ford earlier this year, what the company’s been working on, and how each of us can help. The blog has generated 66 comments as of today — remarkable in and of itself, and that doesn’t even begin to take into account how many others have read and shared the blog post. Meanwhile, he’s been Tweeting about Ford. My favorite Scott Monty Tweet from today: “P.S.: It’s not a bailout plan. We’re asking for access to a line of credit should we need it.” Talk about getting your message out.